From: Brittany Yeager
We’ve witnessed a watchful evangelist, a skeptical friend, a doting mother, a deep-thinking ruler, a woman of ill-repute, a scared father, and an overlooked invalid receive Jesus and believe in his name — and we are only five chapters in to the book of John. Yet, intertwined with radical belief and reception of Jesus is deep unbelief within a group of Jews. In fact, their unbelief has turned hostile enough to cause them to plot his death! Reception mixed with denial; belief amidst unbelief. John 1.11-12 words it this way, “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
I think we should take note of this strong conversation Jesus has in John 5 with this unbelieving, hostile group of Jews. We see this group popping in and out of the stories up until this point, but this is the first time Jesus directly addresses their unbelief and it’s a sobering read. Jesus knows the source of their unbelief, the things that stir such hatred in their hearts toward him, and he names these sources with acute accuracy. Perhaps, as we read with our “resurrection eyes”, we might be tempted to scoff a bit at the hardness of their hearts and their inability to see the Truth that was standing before them. But as I sat with his words for a bit, I realized that my heart isn’t so far from theirs. I, too, can be confronted with Truth himself and still feel entitled to my anger, my frustration, my disappointment, my disbelief.
A prayer that is at the forefront of this Lenten season for me is that Jesus would address my own unbelief and that I would continue to be among the ones who receive Jesus and believe in his name. In the midst of hardship, discontent, and suffering, I’d much rather wish to be identified as a child of God. May we take notice of the ways God is showing himself to us in these 40 days and may we be numbered among the ones who receive Jesus and are called children of God.
I live in Arlington with Jon and Ellie. Three things I’m enjoying right now are: warmer, sunshine days (#nottoday); Taco Tuesday; and real conversations with Ellie.